Rhein

Noyzi’s very first trip to a Biergarten…

Bill and I have been gradually breaking Noyzi in to going to our local wine stands, every other Friday night during the “nicer” months. Yesterday, since we got kind of a late start and were waylaid by chores, I suggested that maybe we should find a nice Biergarten to take him to. We’ve had such beautiful weather this weekend– no clouds to speak of, and temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bill found a Biergarten near Mainz-Kastel, which is kind of an industrial area. The Biergarten is called Biergarten am Bootshaus, and it is affiliated with a restaurant/boating club on the Rhein River. The restaurant is closed on weekends, but the Biergarten– a no frills affair by a campground– is open from noon until 10 PM. We loaded Noyzi into the Volvo and headed over there. Noyzi was delighted, because he loves going places, especially when going somewhere involves car rides.

We were surprised to find the Biergarten not very populated. Just a few people were there having Weizens and Helles beers with Bratwursts and Pommes. It wasn’t even that hard to park the car. The restaurant has a big parking lot and a clean restroom, which I really appreciated. I had started to wear shorts yesterday, but changed into pants because it seemed chilly outside. When we got to the Biergarten, I was kind of sorry I changed into pants. The weather was definitely shorts weather. Unfortunately, it’s also allergy season, and Bill and I were both suffering!

Noyzi was a bit spooked at the Biergarten, because we were sitting under a big umbrella and the wind was causing it to flap a bit. He doesn’t like loud or strange noises, and he doesn’t like sudden movements. Wind is not his friend. But after about an hour or so, he finally relaxed and laid down for a moment or two.

Meanwhile, we watched ships pass. Cargo ships were the norm, but we also caught a glimpse of the Viking Sigrun, a riverboat that gets pretty good reviews. I think Rhein cruises are probably really nice, but we already live very close to a number of the ports. And we’ve already visited Amsterdam, where a lot of those of those cruises start or end. We haven’t been to Basel, Switzerland, yet. I think it would be weird to stop in Mainz, though, because we live twenty minutes from there. We could get off the boat and take a cab home to pick up the mail, then come back to the boat later. Maybe we’ll do one someday when we’re no longer living in Wiesbaden.

After a couple of hours, we had enough beer and sun. A few more people had come to the Biergarten, including a young family who had arrived on bikes. I could tell the two boys with their parents wanted to pet Noyzi. He would have been alright with it, but they were smart and polite enough not to pet him without asking.

Bill went to return the beer glasses, but we didn’t finish the water we bought for Noyzi, so they kept the two euro Pfand (deposit) for that. As we were about to leave, one of the young guys behind the counter said that Noyzi was beautiful. Bill told him that he’s a street dog who comes from Kosovo. The guy said “Wow!” I think a lot of Germans are intrigued by Noyzi. He’s kind of unique, especially with his little nubby tail that wags all the time. I just wish people didn’t think he had it docked. He really was born with a bob tail. I have DNA proof.

I’m not sure what we’re going to do today… The weather is still beautiful, but our allergies are pretty bad. We’re both sneezing and sniffling. But maybe we’ll get out. Sigh… I really had meant for this to be more of a staycation weekend, but it’s been kind of a bust. At least Noyzi’s getting out some, though.

Below are some photos and videos from yesterday’s short outing. I made another short video for Bill’s daughter, to show her the Rhein and different types of Bratwurst. I had one made of beef, while Bill’s was made of wild boar. The pommes (fries) were very ordinary, but good. I’d go back. Lots of people were biking, walking their dogs, or just enjoying the sun.

We should try to get out today, if only because the weather is so nice. We’ll see what happens. We ended up eating the cakes we bought on Thursday for dinner– Red Wine cake and “Bee Sting” cake. Delicious!

I wouldn’t mind finding a nice short day cruise or something… The river is so inviting, especially on a day like today or yesterday.
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Beautiful Biergarten (and wine stand) weather!

Ahhh… I love September in Germany. The first time we lived here, it was from September 2007 until September 2009. We were in the Stuttgart area. I remember flying over here from Virginia, where it was still hotter than four hells, a warning from a former neighbor still in my head. She’d told me it would be much cooler in Germany. Sure enough, I soon found myself on Panzer Kaserne, at AAFES, buying a cheap suede jacket that made in China. It lasted five years before I tossed it out in Glasgow, Scotland, because it had a big rip in it.

Seven years ago, we moved into our second German home, located in lovely Unterjettingen. I still remember the smell of fermenting apples and the sight of the trees gently turning gold as the month progressed. And now, here we are in Wiesbaden, where the weather is just PERFECT. It was about 80 degrees today, with lots of sunshine and a cool breeze, promising that very soon, the weather would be more like it is in Germany the rest of the year. ūüėČ Although, I have to admit that global warming has changed things here, even since 2007.

Anyway… I might have been tempted to vegetate and drink in the back yard. Bill decided he wanted to go out. So at about 12:30, we dog proofed the house and set off for Wiesbaden. Bill wanted to check out the park behind the Kurhaus. I don’t know how we’ve missed it for the past almost three years we’ve lived here, but we have. Today, we discovered a lovely oasis, where paddle boats can be rented, picnics and sunbathing can be enjoyed, and beer can be consumed at the 1907 Lounge, a Biergarten that is affiliated with Benner’s Bistronomie, where we had lunch a few weeks ago.

Below are many photos from today’s outing. I think they mostly speak for themselves!

It was getting close to 4:00pm, which is when Arran and Noyzi eat their dinner. I was loving the weather, but not the cigarette smoke. Also, because Wiesbaden’s COVID cases are on the rise, new restrictions are in place. Everybody has to show that they’ve been vaccinated, tested negative, or recovered from the virus. Of course, medical masks are required, too. They’re a bummer, but people cooperate.

That’s one thing I like about Germany. Nobody enjoys wearing masks, but people do it without causing a ruckus. And, when the threat is no longer, they won’t require masks anymore. Nobody pretends they’re more or less virtuous for complying with the health measures. The masks aren’t political, nor are the vaccines. People accept that this is about health, not politics, and there’s a minimum of fuss. I expect that if and when the pandemic peters out, Germans will enjoy being mask free if they want to be. But until then, people simply do what they’re supposed to do, mostly without getting violent or obnoxious. It helps to have a lot of cops around, of course… and here, the cops are generally not belligerent or violent unless they have to be.

On many levels, I’m so glad we’ve been able to be over here for this particular time in history. I will always be grateful to Germany for being kind to us Americans who don’t want to raise hell and just want to get through this crisis with our lives and health intact.

I’m glad we went out. It’s nice to see Germany functioning again, and people out and about. It would be a crime to miss this wonderful weather. I’m sure we’ll do something similar tomorrow.

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supermarkets

A German and Italian inspired outing in Mainz-Kastel…

We have beautiful weather in Wiesbaden today. It was so pretty that Bill decided that he wanted to try out a Biergarten in nearby Mainz-Kastel. Mainz-Kastel is not the prettiest or most picturesque place I’ve ever seen, but it does have a nice Italian supermarket. Bill wanted to stop by there, too, and see if we could score some Italian goodies. We fired up the Mini, which badly needs to be driven, and headed off to our first stop, the Brauhaus-Castel Brewery (or Brauhaus, if you prefer). This restaurant offers hearty German (Bavarian) fare and lots of housemade beers. The kitchen stays open all day, so there are no worries about pauses. They have a nice sized parking lot with free parking, which even has a spot for charging your electric vehicle. There’s also a playground for your kids and a children’s menu!

Here are a few photos from our lunch, which was pretty good. I suspect Bill will be regular for the next few days, thanks to his barley covered schnitzel.

Service was friendly and kind. Our server was indulgent at my pitiful attempts to speak German. I know, after seven years, I should be fluent. Shame on me. For those who don’t want to try to speak German, this place does seem to be very American friendly. I think the server spoke English, although he spoke German to us. I know he knew we were Auslanders, though.

All told, we spent 40 euros on food and beer… two half liter beers each for us. Bill had a Dunkel and an alcohol free Weizen. I had two Weizens. They also had other drinks and, of course, there was plenty of wine! It was a good time. We would go back. I’d like to go back just so I can get pictures of the huge sex shop next door. It has a slogan in English that says, “Sex up your life!” That’s something you probably wouldn’t necessarily see in most parts of the USA. On the other hand, I do remember passing Cafe Risque many times on the way through North Carolina as I traveled on I-95 from Virginia to South Carolina, and vice versa.

After lunch, we headed for the Celpro Italian market. That place was a real treat, and it was DEFINITELY very Italian. There’s also plenty of parking there, as well as lots of high quality Italian goodies.

It’s not a big supermarket and we didn’t linger long, because after being at the Biergarten, I really needed to pee. Alas, the supermarket doesn’t have a public restroom and secluded bushes are scarce. I did see a guy cleaning the parking lot, though. Very impressive! I am sure we’ll back for more. It’s not far from where we live. I love all the ethnic markets here in Germany. There’s always a sure bet you’ll find something fun and interesting in them, although maybe they aren’t as fun as the Mix Markts with the Russian and Eastern European products.

It’s nice to get out again, even though COVID cases are on the rise, even here. Mask mandates never went away here, though… Seriously, it’s nice to be in Germany during these weird times.

I don’t know what we’ll do tomorrow, but I would be up for another trip to both of our spots today. Not tomorrow, of course, but maybe sometime soon… before the weather turns back into shit.

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Hungry? Bring your XXL appetite to the Waldgeist!

Some time ago, Bill was looking for local restaurant possibilities for us and he stumbled across Restaurant Waldgeist.  Located near a Sportsplatz in Hofheim, this restaurant boasts an impressive Biergarten, which wasn’t operating today due to the suddenly cool temperatures, and lots of indoor seating.  It’s also known for its huge portions.

I don’t love places that dish out huge portions because I can never finish and stuff has a tendency to go to waste. ¬†Also, I end up eating more than I should or really need to eat. ¬†However, I was curious about this restaurant due to its Biergarten and its “Hessisch” kitchen. ¬†Here’s where you can get your green sauce,¬†Handk√§se, or¬†Spundek√§s. ¬†They also have burgers, schnitzels, ribs, steaks, and sausages.

Big sign out front!

We didn’t make a reservation.  Apparently, it’s not a bad idea to call ahead on Saturdays, because when we showed up, we were relegated to “table 9”, that is, a side room where another couple was sitting with their two enormous and well behaved dogs.  We were given a two top table and I sat on a bench that was a little too high for it.  My legs dangled and I leaned forward to keep my back from getting too sore from the awkward position.  I didn’t have a chance to look in the other rooms.  It appeared to be kind of a sprawling place with lots of rooms.  The room we were in was clearly not the popular place to sit.


The menu… gets the job done, but is kind of annoying.

The waiter brought us laminated tri-fold menus, which kind of annoyed me, since I had to balance on the awkward bench as I opened the tri-fold menu that would not stay open on its own.  Nevertheless, I had already decided to order spare ribs, which I only do every once in awhile.  The smallest portion is 2 pieces, but you can order up to 4 pieces.  And you can also wash it down with a two liter Krug of beer if you want to.  For once, I exercised restraint and had a half liter of Hefeweizen.  Bill went with a Dunkelweizen and a “small” schnitzel.

Outdoor seating.  Looks really nice.  In warmer weather, I bet it gets packed.
Wait here, and they’ll show you to your table in “the blink of an eye.”

We waited for awhile.  At one point, a waiter tried to deliver the other couple’s schnitzels to us.  When they brought out our food, my exact words were “Damn, that’s big!”  The waiter laughed.

This is the smallest order of ribs.  It’s a full rack.  I could have also had this with cole slaw and fries, for just a few euros more.  I figured I’d have my hands full.  I’d like to know who orders the four piece… Maybe a large group?
Bill’s “small” schnitzel served with gravy, bacon wrapped green beans, and potato croquettes.
Needless, to say, I made it through half of my ribs before I had to stop.  That was with help from Bill.  When we asked to take it home with us, the waiter brought out aluminum foil and left it up to me to wrap it.  I suspect we’ll be snacking on them later, as well as the rest of Bill’s lunch.  He finished more of his.
I liked the cool flower pot for the tree.

The ribs were very good, perfectly cooked and tender, with spicy sauce.  Actually, I was surprised by how spicy the sauce was.  I could see it encouraging beer drinking!  
I think we’d go back to Waldgeist, especially in nice weather.  The outdoor area is pleasant and they have convenient hours.  No pauses or “Ruhetags”, so it’s very convenient– except you have to pay in cash.  Prices are very reasonable, though.  I’m sure during the summer, you’d best not show up without a reserved table.  I’m glad to know where a good Biergarten is up here.  They don’t seem to be quite as prevalent in Hesse as they are down south.
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Sundays

Charming Herrenberg: Lunch at Hanoi Pho and a hike to the Schloss!

Sometimes I’m really glad I feel compelled to blog.  If I didn’t blog, it would be too easy to sit on my can and waste a beautiful Saturday like today.  Thanks to my Puritan work ethic and the sad memories I have of the time we wasted during our first Germany tour, I convinced myself to venture out today.  However, I didn’t feel like venturing far.  It looked like it might rain and I was feeling like I might enjoy a nap.  I remembered that even after all of our years living near Herrenberg, before today, we had never visited the ruins of Schlossberg, Herrenberg’s castle.  Bill and I resolved to have lunch and make our way up the path leading to the ruins.

One of many lovely views I enjoyed today.  I hate climbing hills, but I’m always glad I did it when I get to the top.

Lunch was very successful.  We stopped by Hanoi Pho, a place where Bill had only previously gotten takeout.  Hanoi Pho serves German style Chinese food, but it’s really more of a Vietnamese restaurant.  They had their outdoor seating ready, but we decided to sit inside, where I enjoyed crispy sweet and sour duck and Bill had a Vietnamese dish called Bun cha gio Vietnam.  We both had hefeweizens.

I was kind of tempted by the Pho.  So was Bill.  We have only had it once before, when we lived at Fort Belvoir in Virginia and visited one of the many awesome Asian restaurants outside the Telegraph Road gate.  But since it’s kind of warm right now, we decided not to try it this time.  The quality of today’s lunch was good enough that I think we’ll be back.

Bill studies the menu, wondering if he should ask “What the pho?”

Nice wheat beer…

And entertaining placemats.  Apparently, Bill was born in the Year of the Dragon, while I was born in the Year of the Rat.  That makes us compatible.  No wonder we get along so well.

Bill’s Vietnamese dish… basically fried dough stuffed with ground meat, cucumbers, coriander, cilantro, and mint, among other things.  It was served with rice noodles, fresh vegetables, and a sprinkling of peanuts on top.  Since it’s mushroom free, I will probably order it next time we visit.  I’ve had my fill of sweet and sour crispy duck.

Although this was very good…  For some reason, the waiter gave me a fork and Bill got chopsticks.  The sweet and sour duck was served with sliced pineapple, carrots, and red peppers.  It was very satisfying.

Total bill was just 22 euros, served with fortune cookies!  Mine said I would be getting a big gift soon.  I do have a birthday in 18 days…  Bill said he would soon get a lot of money.  If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll use some of it on my big gift.  (Kidding, of course…  I’d be happy just to spend the day with him.)

 

The square was looking fine today!

 

With lunch sorted, we decided to head up to the Stiftskirche, which is the iconic church that sits on a hillside over the city.  We’ve visited it a few times.  We walked around the church so I could take some pictures and catch my breath.  The walk to the church is a little steep.  Below are a few photos I took as I slowed down my heartbeat.  We didn’t climb the church tower today, although there are days when that’s permissible.

No dogs.  No booze.  After 10pm, no loud noises.  Seems reasonable to me.  And they thank you for your understanding, too.

Lovely red roses.  Unfortunately, these weren’t the only thorns we would encounter today.

 Behind the Stiftskirche is the trail to the ruins.  Instead of heading straight up what appeared to be a curvy and steep but well maintained trail, we decided to go left.

The trail was also good beyond this gate.  But then we passed a young woman who had suddenly  popped out of the woods. 

 

As we approached where she had come from, Bill said, “I thought maybe there’d be a trail here, but maybe she just ducked in there to take a piss.”

Then I noticed there was actually a trail.  It was just kind of narrow and steep.  I pointed it out to Bill, who said, “Oh yes… this takes you right to the Schloss!”

Against my better judgment, I followed my husband up the slightly slippery hill.  There was a lot of pollution on the trail… bottle caps, broken glass, and cigarette butts.  But the trail was functional until it stopped right before the ruins.  I could then see why the young woman had decided not to go that way.  Bill had already plunged ahead, where there were tons of sticker bushes.  They were viciously sharp, but hell, I grew up in Virginia.  I’ve crossed my share of wild terrain.

Besides, I was able to get some interesting photos.

Sadly, the trail became more thick with vegetation.  I was sorry I’d left my machete at home.

We were so close, though!

So I said, “Screw it… let’s keep going.”  That was not the best decision.

Bill told me to go ahead of him.  I did, and things were okay until I got to just before the powder tower.  Suddenly, I started feeling the sting of thousands of tiny needles.  It turned out the vegetation in front of the ruins was riddled with stinging nettle roots.  As I type this, I still have patches of stinging flesh on my lower legs and lower left arm.  Thank God I wore capris and a shirt with three quarter length sleeves.  If I had worn shorts, I would definitely be in Hell right now.  The initial stings were pretty painful– hot and intense.  Bill suggested we turn around.  But again, I looked at how close we were and said, “The hell with it.  Let’s just go.”  Because if we’d turned around, we’d just have to walk through the nettles again and we wouldn’t have satisfied our curiosity.  Besides, it appeared there was an escape…

This is on the other side of the wall, beyond the thick cover of nettles and thorny prickers.  There, I could see a very well established trail, sans any dangerous weeds…

I looked at my rapidly reddening skin and the welts that were starting to rise and said, “Let’s just take a quick look.”  Bill agreed.  Then we were rewarded.

A lovely green lawn, where one can sit and ponder the meaning of life or have a picnic…

And you can climb to the top of the tower and look down over Herrenberg.  We spotted the lady who had popped out of the woods up there.  She was sitting on the edge of the tower and probably laughed at us as we were making our way through the punishing field of nettles.

We walked to the right of the plateau and looked down.  I got a big smile on my face.  One of the best things about Germany is that you’re always rewarded when you climb a big hill.  Below is the Schlosskeller Biergarten.  Not only does it serve food and beer, it also has restrooms where one can start to wash off stinging nettles.

A sight for sore, itchy, stinging skin.

And more enchanting views of Herrenberg and its environs.  In the distance, I could see Wurmlinger Kapelle to the south.  When we lived in Germany the first time, that chapel on a hill was almost in our backyard.  We visited there a few years ago.  Our visit to the chapel in 2015 was another case of us taking advantage of having the chance to live here again.  Because during our first tour, we gazed at the hilltop church daily, but never took the time to hike up the hill to see it.

We chose a table under a tent and ordered Germany’s national drink.

But if we’d wanted food, that could have been arranged.  This Biergarten is also very dog and kid friendly.  Several people brought their dogs, who were all given bowls of water to drink.

 

As we were finishing our beers, a large group of elderly German hikers showed up and took the large table in front of ours.  They good naturedly apologized for spoiling our view.  But I said in German, “Kein Problem!  Prost!”  This was more successful than my attempt at ordering food in German last night, which started off German and slipped into Armenian.  Some habits die very hard.  I haven’t been in Armenia since 1997, but I still have a few language skills.

Below are a few photos of the view from the Biergarten before we hiked back down the hill.

I used the zoom lens to focus on Wurmlinger Chapel, which is probably about ten miles away.  We used to live in a neighborhood very close to this chapel.

I had to explore this before we headed down…

It was a beautiful day for a hike!

The park near the Schloss has many sculptures in it.

But none of the art could match the beauty of Herrenberg itself.

There was probably a lot more to the Schloss ruins than we saw today, but I really needed to get home and into a hot shower.

Overall, I’m really glad I wasn’t lazy today.  We really enjoyed our afternoon in Herrenberg, even if I do have a painful stinging nettle rash now.  As for that trail, I would not recommend taking it unless you’re well protected with long pants, closed shoes, and long sleeves… and maybe a machete.  However, I will admit that the trail was a handy shortcut.  I won’t be cheating again, though.  Next time we visit, I’m sticking to the professionally made trails!

I enhanced my photo of Wurmlinger Chapel and it looks like a painting!

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Olive Restaurant in Nagold…

We had such marvelous weather all week that I was itching to go have dinner al fresco. ¬†So tonight, Bill and I decided to visit the Olive Restaurant in Nagold. ¬†Although we’ve lived near Nagold since 2014, this was our first time visiting this Greek spot. ¬†I first noticed it last fall when we visited the Waldachtal Restaurant and then when we went into the Black Forest a¬†couple of months ago. ¬†I could see they had a great Biergarten and today’s weather definitely called for that. ¬†And I was in the mood for ouzo, too. ¬†Off we went.

The Olive Restaurant is located on the western outskirts of Nagold. ¬†We pass it when we go to the Black Forest. ¬†Since we don’t always go that way when we head west, it’s easy to see how we missed this place for the three years we lived here before we had seen it. ¬†The last time we passed it was when we went to see the wolf and bear park last month. ¬†I remember making a mental note to go there the last time we passed it.

Tonight, we parked in their small lot, noticing that the restaurant is also a small hotel. ¬†We walked in at 6:30pm. ¬†A few people were already there, enjoying the covered Biergarten. ¬†I was actually very impressed by the Biergarten. ¬†It’s quite large and even boasts a swingset for the kids. ¬†It looked to me like they hadn’t quite squared away the garten for the warmer weather, but I was glad to see it open tonight.

The front of the Olive… ¬†

 

We had a seat and checked out the menu. ¬†I’ve been following this restaurant’s Facebook page, so I know they have some impressive looking food. ¬†But I wasn’t that hungry tonight. ¬†We ordered our usual sparkling water and red wine. ¬†Curiously, they didn’t have any wine in the menu, but we could see people were ordering it, so we just asked for dry red wine. ¬†We ended up with a half liter of something.

Happy Bill.  I think the weather agrees with him.

 

They also brought us ouzo with ice in it.  I was immediately reminded of Raki, which is a Turkish thing.  

 

Bill decided on souvlaki and I went with my usual gyros. ¬†Both dishes came with salads and fries. ¬†I noticed they had fancier dishes that came with “tomato rice”.

 

Salad. ¬†Not long after we ate them, the lady who brought our entrees accidentally knocked over Bill’s water. ¬†It was no big deal and they were quick to clean up the mess. ¬†At least there wasn’t any broken glass involved.

 

My gyros, well seasoned and loaded with raw onions, which I didn’t eat much of… ¬†I prefer my gyros lightly onioned. ¬†

Bill’s souvlaki, which was tender and juicy. ¬†He really enjoyed it.

 

While we were eating, about four firetrucks came screaming through the roundabout right outside, along with at least three ambulances.  I have no idea what was going on tonight, but it appeared to be a pretty major incident.  Bill wondered if a factory caught on fire or something.  There were that many emergency vehicles!

We decided we were too full for dessert or coffee, so we called for the check.  The bill came to 37, 30.  At one point, the proprietor asked us if we were American.  We admitted to being American and said we live here.  He said he lives here too.  All of this was said in German, which seemed pretty cool, to me.

The entrance to the very nice Biergarten at Olive.  It looked like they had a number of regulars.

 

Now that my curiosity is satisfied, I can say that I’d return to Olive in Nagold. ¬†I don’t know when that will happen, though, because I have an ever expanding list of places to try… and lots of places I need to visit again. ¬†But if you’re near Nagold or live in the area, I can report that this is a nice place. ¬†And in the warmer months, the Biergarten alone makes it well worth a stop. ¬†And your kids can play while the food is being prepared.

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We finally made it to the Schwabengarten…

I know… I know… in August, we will have spent a total of five years in the Stuttgart area– two years with the Army and three with contractors.  You’d think with as much as I love beer, I would have scoped out a permanent spot at the Schwabengarten, a large biergarten near Leinfelden.  I am sad to say that today was my first visit.  However, I don’t think it will be the last time we go there for suds and spareribs.

We had nearly perfect weather today in Germany.  The sun was out; the clouds were minimal; and it wasn’t too hot.  I sprayed sunscreen all over myself, determined not to burn to a crisp.  As it turned out, we got more sun while riding in my convertible than sitting at the Schwabengarten.  There is a large covered area as well as plenty of tables under umbrellas.

We chose a table under the covered area, which may not have been the best choice.  Not long after we sat down, we were joined by a bunch of chain smoking locals who made me wish I’d clipped an electric fan to my mighty bosoms that I could aim their way.  You may think I’m joking about this, but I once went on a cruise where a woman did just that.  And I did manage to snap a photo…

See?  I’m not kidding.

Anyhoo… the weather was fine, the beer was cold, and the pork was good.  I had ribs and Bill had the pulled pork sandwich, which was pretty good, even if it was covered in sauerkraut.

We arrived at a little past one… it was busy, but not totally overrun.  There were plenty of tables free and we had no problems finding parking.

The Schwabengarten is self-service.  You go up to the counter, order what you want, and take it back to your table…

Bill was ordering us a couple of mas krugs…

He kindly delivered them…

And spent about two hours drinking them.  In retrospect, maybe I should have gotten a smaller beer.  They don’t warm up when it takes less time to drink them.   

Bill’s pulled pork sandwich.  This was pretty good.  It came with kraut, lettuce, and tomatoes.

I got the ribs.  You can get this dish sans fries.  I probably should have, because I couldn’t finish this.  However, I will say that the ribs were very good– they may have been among the best I’ve had here, outside of the Auld Rogue!  Next time, we’ll get one order and split it.  I only wished I’d had Handi-Wipes by the time I was done!

 

Bill grooves to the music.  This was one area where I think the Schwabengarten can improve.  It’s weird hearing a dance version of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

Empty tankard, sans cover.  When you’re finished with your dishes, it’s likely a young lad will come along and clear them for you.  Bill tried to clear our table and was quickly corrected by a flustered young man who seemed puzzled he’d bother with that!

This lady was featured on all of the Schwabengarten’s ads.  She reminds me of Sandra Bullock.

But I was feeling more like this cow.

 

I’m pleased to report that the restrooms were very clean and functional.  They even had Dyson hand dryers and an actual changing room for babies.  Actually, I’d say this particular venue is very kid friendly.  I saw lots of kids today having a good time while the adults drank beer and ate pork products.  I also heard plenty of my countrymen.  Lots of Americans hang out at the Schwabengarten.

Awesome Maypole in the parking lot.

Sandra Bullock’s twin again.

 

We spent about 35 euros today and had a good time enjoying the weather and the atmosphere.  We don’t live that close to Leinfelden, which is probably why today was the first time we visited.  Now that I’ve been, I’d go again, although I’m still partial to biergartens closer to home.  Anyway, I think it’s a good bet if you need a kid friendly place to go, especially if you’re with a group.  In fact, you can even reserve online if you have a group.  I’d recommend doing just that, especially if the weather is good.

This bus has handy advertising on its tail end…

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Celebrating swine in Stuttgart…

Pig out!

Need something to do on a Sunday?  May I suggest Stuttgart’s kitschiest museum?  It’s a place utterly dedicated to the pig and the largest pig museum in the world, the Stuttgart Schweine Museum.

I don’t remember where I first heard about this place.  I want to say it was mentioned in a local Facebook group.  I know I also saw it highlighted in an online magazine article about quirky museums.  What can I say?  My people are originally from the same area where Foamhenge existed for years (it has since been moved to a new location).  I’m a sucker for the surreal.

I suggested a trip to the pig museum last weekend, but Bill and I were sidetracked by beer and wine tastings.  I thought we might go yesterday, but then we decided to go to Herrenberg today.  We thought about postponing our trip for another week when I realized how beautiful the weather is today.  I thought maybe the Schweine Museum might be better on a rainy day.  After some discussion, Bill and I decided we’d go… and then maybe drop by Killesberg Park for awhile.  Little did we know how absolutely HORRIBLE traffic was going to be.

At this point, we were very close to the museum… it still took about ten minutes to get there.  I think there was a game going on, which also made parking difficult.

 

Bill made me laugh pretty hard as we drove through one of Stuttgart’s many tunnels.  The GPS told him to make a U-turn and he said, “What?  I’m not making a U-turn!  Screw you!”  He gets pretty funny when he converses with computerized objects.  Thanks to the traffic going to a football game and the neverending road projects going on in the big city, it was kind of a challenge to get to the museum.  Once we got there, we had to find parking, which wasn’t so easy since a lot of people going to the game were availing themselves of parking at the pig museum.  Fortunately, we drove my Mini Cooper…

Props to Bill for his parking job.  He managed to squeeze into a tight spot.

 

Pigs are everywhere at the Schweine Museum.

The Schweine Museum has a very nice biergarten in the front and back.  There’s also a nice restaurant (called the Schlachthof Restaurant) on the first floor of the museum.  My guess is that many people come there for the food.  We saw plenty of people who were obviously in the area for football having lunch at the biergarten.  It was pretty full when we arrived, but had emptied out somewhat after we finished lunch.  It’s worthwhile, by the way, to stop in for food at the museum.  They had some great stuff, naturally inspired by pork. For those who aren’t pork eaters, there are other selections available.  Vegetarians and vegans might be a bit challenged, though.

Come on in… sit down and have a beer and a cigarette, if you want.  Smoking is allowed.

 

Someone (not me) obviously got bored while waiting for their order…  I have to admit being impressed.  It never would have occurred to me to add these features to the beer coasters.  I decided to be a good Samaritan and take these with me, lest any innocent children see them.

 

Bill laughs when I show him the adulterated coasters.

 

For lunch, Bill chose the barbecue pork burger, which came with onion rings, potato wedges, and kraut.  I had bratwurst, which also came with potato wedges and barbecue sauce.  Bill and I were delighted with the quality of the food.  I noticed that the company providing the food is the same one that owns Ampulle Dry Gin and Beef Club in Stuttgart.  We visited that restaurant last July and enjoyed it.  I’m glad to see they know what to do with pork, too.  Edited to add:  My German friend, Susanne, says the museum was founded by Erika Wilhelmer, who is the grandmother in the family that owns the Wilhelmer Gastronomie Company.  Wilhelmer Gastronomie is the force behind several food oriented outlets in the Stuttgart area.

The usual beer…

 

My fancy bratwurst.  It was very fresh, although the BBQ sauce reminded me of what they put on currywurst, minus the curry.

 

Bill’s pork burger.  It was a hit!  

 

Other choices included everything from salmon filet to pork t-bones to beef.  They also had salads and soups, as well as a kid’s menu.  Our lunch was about 36 euros before the tip.  Service was a little slow, but the servers were working hard.  It was a beautiful day and they were very busy.

 

After we ate and visited the loo, we went into the restaurant to find out how to visit the museum.  They lady running the museum had stepped out for a minute, so we ended up waiting for a few minutes.  After she sold us our tickets, a guy came in and started asking about the restaurant, at which point she pitched the museum to him.  I don’t know if she was the owner, but I would not be surprised if she was.  I read that the museum was moved to Stuttgart from Bad Wimpfen, a location near Heilbronn, just a few years ago.  The museum was housed in much smaller quarters in those days, but still made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest swine museum in the world.

The swine museum itself is on two floors.  I didn’t see any elevators, so I would guess this attraction would not be suitable for mobility challenged people or those with strollers.  I wouldn’t swear to this, though, so if this post makes you want to visit and you have mobility challenges, you might want to call ahead.  It costs 5,90 per adult to see the museum and that is the most you’ll pay for an hour or two of kitschy pig related fun!  Below are some pictures I took while browsing the exhibits, almost all of which had English translations of what we were looking at.

Pigs like this one are everywhere!

 

Outside, in front of the museum, there’s a lot to see.

Artwork near where you buy your tickets.  Looks like they had private dining rooms in that area, too.

Hours.

The two pictures above show who eats the most pork out of 75 of the 196 countries in the world.  Austria is #1.  USA is #21.  Not surprisingly, several countries heavily populated by Muslims come in last.

A pig inspired barbecue.

These helpful signs are translated in English, so you won’t wander from room to room learning by osmosis.

I would actually love to have this table.  I love this kind of stuff.

 

Pig booze?

Sexy pigs.

 

Today, I learned that pigs are rumored to have 30 minute orgasms!

X-rated pig stuff.  This is just one picture of several I could have taken.

Although most of the exhibits in the pig museum are good clean fun, I will caution those who are sensitive about sexually explicit exhibits.  There is one room, easily identified because it’s red, where there are some items that may not be suitable for children or uptight adults.  However, this room is easy to skip and you have to look closely to find the sexually explicit pig figurines.  I almost missed them myself, until Bill pointed them out to me.

For Lego lovers!

Kids play area!

Someone should have given us this for our wedding…

 

All in all, Bill and I really enjoyed our visit to the Schweine Museum.  It’s an inexpensive and fun place to visit, the food is great, and you will learn some surprising facts about pigs.  They have exhibits about everything from where pigs come from, to their intelligence level, to what it takes to hunt them.  I had no idea, for instance, that male boars in the wild are so cunning and dangerous.  There are also some interesting exhibits about where certain pig related sayings come from, such as “Casting one’s pearls before swine” and “Even a blind pig can find an acorn sometimes.”  I’m proud to report that I know more about pigs today than I did yesterday.  I would recommend this museum to anyone else who likes a little porking.

When pigs fly?

We also tried to visit Killesburg Park today, but there were way too many people there and it was impossible to find parking.  Maybe next time, we’ll take the U-Bahn and get there earlier in the day.

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Schnitzel, song, and sunshine on the Sch√∂nbuch ridge…

I had thoughts that maybe Bill and I should venture to Stuttgart for some fun today, but then I decided to do laundry.  As anyone who lives in these parts knows, laundry can be an all day affair, even if you use the short cycles.  I wasn’t finished washing the bed linens until about 1:30pm, which seemed kind of late to be heading out to Stuttgart, especially since we wanted to have lunch.  We decided to go to Herrenberg instead.

As we headed into town, I noticed the ads for the Whisky Messe that is going on right now.  Tickets were being sold at the Alte Brennerei, an excellent place to buy all manner of exotic spirits and wines.  I told Bill I wanted to stop in there today, since we’re out of whisky.  But first, I wanted to have lunch.  I remembered from last year, when we took our dogs, Zane and Arran, on a walk through nature trails on the Sch√∂nbuch ridge overlooking the outskirts of Herrenberg.  Right across the street from the nature park, there is a restaurant/biergarten that looked inviting.  We didn’t try it last year, but decided to stop in today, sans dogs.

Lots of trails and a nice little self-service restaurant for your hunger, big or small.

The biergarten at the was full of people when we arrived at the Naturfreundehaus am Sch√∂nbuch.  They were serving a few specials along with the usual schnitzels and such.  It’s a self-service place that appears to be quite popular among locals.  In fact, when we walked inside, there was a group of people in a closed off room having a group singalong of some sort.  I was grateful that they were on key, because they sang the same song several times.  I had it stuck in my head the whole time we were dining.

My first impression… it seemed a bit “church fellowship hall” like.

Bill and I both decided to have small schnitzels with fries, washed down with hefeweizens.  I sat down while Bill ordered.

The lady took his order and gave him a ticket with a number on it.  He sat with me to wait.

You can’t go wrong with a local weizen.

Bill laughs as I snark on the singers in the next room.  They were actually entertaining.  I wouldn’t have minded joining in on the singalong.

Finally, our number was called.  We were 122.  Bill picked up our lunches and we commenced eating.

They had large and small schnitzels.  We both got the small size, which was plenty.  I didn’t finish the fries.  I noticed they had a number of nice looking cakes.  I wouldn’t have minded trying out the Black Forest Cake they had, but I refrained for the sake of my behind.

Nice napkins that tell you where you are.

Once you’re finished eating, you take your dirty dishes to the window.  Put bottles and glasses on the counter where you give your order.

 

This was a pretty typical schnitzel and pommes lunch, but I noticed some of the other options looked pretty good.  Prices are also very reasonable.  It’s a nice, no frills place to stop in after your hike in the woods.  I probably would have enjoyed sitting outside in the sun, but I’m glad we caught the German singing group.

They have handy maps for people who want to walk.

A view of the Biergarten.

Across this highway are more trails.

 

After lunch, we went back to Herrenberg, parked the car, and walked to the Alte Brennerei.  I have written about this awesome wine and liquor store more than a couple of times.  Today was our first visit back since Christmas.  Let me warn you… they are experts at upselling!

Interesting sight by the parking garage.

 

We were originally attracted to their Springbank whiskys, but the one I really had my eye on was priced at about 200 euros.  So we turned our attention to Kilchoman, which was one of the distilleries we visited last year during our Scottish whisky cruise.  I picked up a bottle that was intriguing.  Bill picked out another bottle he liked.  We put them up on the counter.  The saleslady, who spoke some English, invited us to try a couple of whiskys.  We were happy to do it.  Of course, we loved the other two she brought out for us and ended up buying four bottles of scotch.  It may be time for me to start a Facebook whisky lovers group…

Good stuff.  I hope it holds us for awhile.

Bill assesses the damage.  But they softened the blow with a gift of Italian tartufos.

 

I think tomorrow, we will try to go to Stuttgart for a bit… and do some harmless sightseeing rather than shopping!  At least lunch was cheap.  It was a mere 23 euros, plus parking was free of charge.  Edited to add, the Nature House is apparently affiliated with the Friends of Nature, which is an international group dedicated to making nature more accessible.  This particular restaurant is open from 11am-6pm.

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